Steady Growth of Vocations behind Elevation of Missionary Order to East African Province

Credit: Fr. Fred Jenga, CSC

The East African District of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (CSC) has been elevated to a Province, a move that the newly elected Provincial Superior attributes to the steady growth of the Missionary Order’s vocations on the continent.

In a statement on the inauguration of the province, the new Provincial Superior of the East African Province of CSC, Fr. Cyprian Binaka, told members of the press that the erection attests to the growth in membership and Ministries in East Africa “and points to the region coming of age and the ability to carry on the good work that was started by the Holy Cross missionaries.”

“The Congregation of Holy Cross in East Africa now has a significant number of indigenous African Holy Cross Religious, run some of the largest and vibrant parishes and institutions in dioceses, and has a continuous flow of vocations to the priesthood and the Brotherhood,” Fr. Cyprian said.

The Congregation of Holy Cross in East Africa has been a district under the Province of the USA.

The decree passing the erection of the Province of East Africa was passed in July 2022 at the Congregation’s General Chapter in Rome, Italy. 


The decree stated that the new Province takes effect on 1 January 2023.

Fr. Binaka noted that CSC members had received the news of the elevation of the District to a Province with joy and gratitude.

“It is with joy and gratitude to God that the congregation of Holy Cross in East Africa announces the erection and inauguration of the province of East Africa,” he said, and added, “This exciting news affirms the many years of good ministry in East Africa since 4th November 1958 when the Congregation of Holy Cross established its presence in East Africa.”

Credit: Fr. Fred Jenga, CSC

He recounted the writing on 10 April 1958 of the then Fr. Vincent Joseph McCauley, who later became the first Catholic Bishop of Uganda’s Fort Portal Diocese, who said, “This is going a long way to look over a mission that three to 30 members of Holy Cross might work in all their lives.”

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Fr. Mccawly had been sent on a two-week feasibility study of a potential Holy Cross mission in Uganda.

“Many years down the road what originally was thought of as a small mission that would play an auxiliary supporting role in building the local church has now grown like a mighty tree,” Fr. Binaka said.

Credit: Fr. Fred Jenga, CSC

The Provincial Superior of the Congregation’s Province of East Africa noted that with a reducing number of Holy Cross missionaries from the Western world coming to serve in East Africa, CSC in East Africa is leaving out the prophetic words of St. Pope Paul VI when he visited Uganda in 1969 and said, “By now you Africans are missionaries to yourselves, in other words, you Africans must now continue upon this continent the building of the church.”

He said that the erection of the East African province of CSC and the celebrations involved is an expression of gratitude to God to CSC missionaries and the lay collaborators who he said, “have for years worked hard to bring the work of Holy Cross in this part of the world to what it currently looks like.”


The Congregation of the Holy Cross founded in 1837 by Basil Moreau, in Le Mans, France, came to Uganda in 1958 following the call by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) to support spiritual and formal education in the Rwenzori sub-region, the area covered by the country’s Fort Portal Diocese.

The inauguration of the East African Province of CSC that has been running from January 3 is scheduled to culminate in the official inauguration ceremony on Sunday, January 8 with a Eucharistic Celebration to be presided over by Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of the Diocese of Fort Portal.

The Congregation of the Holy Cross is spread across all continents with the Charism “to Educate in the Faith”.

Credit: Fr. Fred Jenga, CSC

In East Africa, CSC has more than 100 indigenous professed men, 11 Novices, 24 Postulants, eight parishes, five primary schools, two high schools, two technical schools, five healthcare institutions, and seven offices of Family Ministries, with Ugandan-born Priest, Fr. Fred Jenga, as President of Holy Cross Family Ministries globally

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Holy Cross Congregation is also a founding member of two institutions of higher learning, namely, Nairobi-based Tangaza University College, and Philosophy Center of Jinja in Uganda. 

CSC also facilitated the founding of John Paul Justice and Peace Centre in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.